I live in NYC. It has been my home off and on for a long time but there was a time, in between, when I lived in Seattle, WA. Without fail whenever I mention this to people, they always ask if it's true that it rains all the time or if the weather is really that bad. And I always answer, yes, it is. Over the years my answer has taken on a new life, a story of it's own. I now say, "Yes, it really is that bad. It rains all the time. Every day it is gray, foggy, rainy or at least misty and cold. Even in the summer. Except for one magical day when the sun comes out. And that day is August 25th. It's actually been declared a holiday in Seattle. Everyone takes off of work and we all go to Denny Blaine beach to swim in Lake Washington. We drink rose and champagne. We eat oysters and float on rafts. Later people celebrate by having dinner parties. In my group, we all end up over Bryan and Sinclair's house for dinner and wine and that is always repleat with crazy stories, Drunken Pilates and a Dance-Off to Dolly Parton or ABBA. So much fun."
Now, people might laugh it off as a great story. And true, August 25th was originally my made up day to represent the manifestation of all of my favorite moments in Seattle combined with my anger over how cold and yucky it is there most of the year. But, I'm here to tell you that I actually willed the magic of August 25th into existence. And now it truly is the day the sun comes out! Here's how the magic happened:
One day, getting home late from the restaurant I open my mail and received a supponea to be at a lawsuit mediation (too long of a story, even for me) in Seattle on August 26th. I laughed a little to myself because I knew that meant I was going to be there at least by the 25th and that's my day I always talk about. I became even more thrilled to learn that my good friend Baby Jo was also going to be visiting friends in Seattle at the exact same time and became absolutely ecstatic when I learned that there would, indeed, be a grand ol' dinner party at the house of Bryan and Sinclair on what day? You got it, August 25th. Hilarious! But wait, there's more...
My day of magic began quite early. I woke in my friend Angie's bed...which is not unlike a princess' bed from fairy tale. It is densely plush and soft. Her room is dark and warm. And as I woke and wasn't quite sure exactly where I was for a moment, I quietly considered doing one of those therapies that recreate the experience of being in the womb. I gave that thought up pretty quickly. But I had felt I had come to understand my good friend Angie just a little bit better. Angie made us some coffee and we talked and talked before she drove me off to meet the ex-husband for coffee. I won't go into my coffee date here except to tell you that if you are divorced and you are on remotely friendly terms with your ex, I strongly encourage you to, at least once have coffee or lunch with him/her. You learn so much about yourself and your journey in life. After coffee I find myself for reasons unexplainable, in this blog, walking around Seattle's fabulous Convention Center area and while dodging the rain drops by hiding under a storefront awning and talking on the phone, I make arrangements to meet Schmoo and Spencer at the restaurant Matt's in the Market for lunch. So, I head to the Seattle's very famous Public Market for lunch. I have some time to spare so I stroll about taking pictures of odd things like "decoupage graffiti" (which I thought was quite brilliant an idea) and rotating heads of wigs at the wig shop. Then Schmoo calls to find out exactly where I am and all I can say is "on the corner of somewhere and f*cked up" so we decide to meet at the restaurant and I get us a table. During our lunch, which is full of stories and laughs rose and coffee and some of my most brilliant comedic timing to date, Schmoo looks outside at the Market, which also over looks the water, and suddenly exclaims "You did it, you did it! You made the sun come out and it's August 25th!" And, indeed, the sun was out. It shone through the big glass windows on our arms and faces as we finished our coffee and headed out back to Angie's house.
Sidebar: My two favorite quotes of this afternoon so far? 1) While sitting in between Schmoo and myself in the truck and holding the pies for dinner Spencer says; "I've got a stick in my crotch and cream pies on my lap, it's everything I've ever wanted. Why don't you take a picture of this Carolyn?" and 2) while sitting on her couch watching Battlestar Gallatica as Baby Jo and I got ready; "Gross. There are girls putting on makeup in my house."
Now on to dinner...I love Bryan and Sinclair's house. Everyone does. It is one of those places that makes you feel completely comfortable the second you are there. It is beautiful, stylish, and gracious just like them. And a dinner party with them is always on my must-do list when I visit Seattle. Dinner parties are different in Seattle than in NYC. People are less hectic and people are barefoot. I always say I don't miss Seattle, I miss the dinner parties. I miss my friends. Seattle and I never really got along so well. We were like a bad relationship. It was doomed from the start but I really did try to make it work. Eventually our fundamental differences became too glaring and I had to move back to NYC. See, I have my own personal holy trinity that I was not willing to let go of (dresses, highheels, and waxing) and these things constantly clashed against the backdrop of fleece, sandals, and unwanted bodyhair in sad, little rainy Seattle. But, my friends are pretty great.
We walk in to see the usual sights. Mi Suk and Bryan are prepping. Sinclair, Laura, and Schmoo are all outside by the grill drinking rose. Angie, Baby Jo and I start frantically looking for wine. There is a table full of beautiful bites of food...heirloom tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, goat cheese, prosciutto, olives, crostini. On the grill were Dungeness Crab, Lamb, red carrots. We were drinking champagne, rose and chablis. Later drinking rhone. Later drinking vintage Chateauneuf du Pape. Vieux Telegraphe. 1995. We had such a beautiful dinner. And for dessert we enjoyed the coconut cream pies from Spencer's lap and Mary made peach cobbler with the peaches Baby Jo brought from South Carolina. Mi Suk toasted the gents for hosting us, as always, and putting so much thought and work into the dinner. More friends kept stopping by for a bite to eat or a glass of wine to say hello or to share a story. Baby Jo and I remarked how cool everyone at the table was, how fortunate we felt we were.
It didn't take long for the dinner party to disintegrate into something we lovingly call "Drunk Pilates". These parties are famous for it. I am not even kidding a little. We literally all start doing pilates and yoga, tipsy. No one has the same balance or strength they have while sober so it's quite hilarious. We usually get the few who don't normally do these exercises involved and we fall down and laugh. This then is quickly followed by more party music and dancing. This time it was Dolly Parton. Madonna came on later. We dance, we sing, we laugh, we drink some more.
Eventually, people start to head out. It is a Monday night, after all. Some people have to get up early. I have to get up early. Angie and I head out...completely drunk. We drive...completely drunk...for the one block to her house and go to bed. We actually hit a car while parking and Angie parked nowhere near the curb. Not pretty. Oh well. I love Angie for many reasons. One of them is that while I am a complete hyper-active spaz she is so mellow. She is one of those people who loves to lie under the blankets and read and curl up and sleep. I am one of those people who never got out of that stage of "do I have to go to bed?" Angie has to tell me to go to to bed. Or to take a nap. Or to calm down. It's sweet. And true. I probably would have stayed up and had another drink or two if she hadn't made me go to sleep.
Ah, the party was over. But, it was a success. The whole day was a success. And now, I needed to sleep. Well, I had court in the morning anyways. And I would need a fresh batch of magic for that so I needed to get some rest. I lay my magic wand down next to me for safekeeping. I had done what I came to do. I got to spend August 25th almost exactly how I had envisioned it. And I had done it, I made the sun come out...for one magical day, August 25th.